AFL Round 3 – GWS v St Kilda: Under the Canberra lights tonight

With apologies to The Church (Under the Milky Way Tonight) and The Saints ((I’m)Stranded)

Saturday afternoon, it’s game day
Bus to the ground is squeezed real tight.
I watch the crowd turn slowly orange,
Under the Canberra lights tonight.

Banner unfurled, the Saints come marching
Banner unfurled, Giants look to fight.
I watch the screen, counting down the seconds
Under the Canberra lights tonight.

Their first win is what they’re looking for
Someone’s drought will break this night

And it’s something unexpected,
Explosion red and black and white.
First quarter total domination,
Under the Canberra lights tonight

Revenge is what St Kilda’s looking for
And Dylan Shiel is on their mind
Wish I knew what Giants have come for:
Fired up Saints is what they find

Under the Canberra lights tonight.
– – –
Is Sheeds screaming on the phone?
Every Saint seems to be alone
Every ball they seem to find
Don’t think the score will be too kind

Saints players on their own
Giants stranded far from home, all right

Get some goals in quarter two
Alas for us the Saints did too
Then lose Patton with his knee
I think tonight we’re oh and three

Saints players on their own
Giants stranded far from home, all right

Stranded – Saints on their own
Stranded – Giants far from home
Stranded – improvement must be shown
Or the wooden spoon we’ll own, stranded far from home.

Come on!

Ward, Treloar give it their all
But the Saints have too much ball
Each quarter kicking five goals or more
Really start to wonder what we came here for

Saints players on their own
Giants stranded far from home, come on.

Stranded – Saints on their own
Stranded – Giants far from home
Stranded – improvement must be shown
Or the wooden spoon we’ll own, stranded far from home.

– – –
Saturday night, the siren ends it
The Saints went marching in all right
Crowd runs on, kick to kick together
Under the Canberra lights tonight.

About Kath Presdee

Just a suburban girl, just a suburban girl. Lawyer by day, wife and Mum by night. I experience the agony and the ecstasy of sport, having followed Cronulla all my life, the Brumbies all their life and as a foundation member of the Giants.


  1. Tony Robb says

    your piece is the best thing that came out the game That and leaving at 3 quarter time Ive experienced more atmosphere at craft show.

  2. Barkly St End says


    Yes, the match was a bit drab, the crowd number was healthy enough, but the most interesting thing about the evening was using the new Manuka lights for the first time in a premiership match.

    As for Canberra footy fans, you are correct in your observation, but you need to understand something about Canberra footy.

    They are the AFL’s lost tribe, like the Ethiopians emerging from the desert claiming to be followers of Judaism.

    Canberra footy started in unique circumstances 90 years ago, and was always a little bit cut off from the heartland of footy. It was a footy island, completely surrounded by rugby playing towns, a good 250 km or so from the aussie rules strongholds along the Murray River.

    The highpoint of Canberra footy was when Cowboy Neal and Jezza led a bunch of locals to a victory over a Victorian XVIII in front of 10,600 fans in 1980 (a pretty big crowd for what was then a very small city).

    At that point in time, Australian Football was the main game in town.

    Two years later, the Raiders joined the NSWRL, and slowly but surely, both rugbies took over as the main sports.

    The remnant support for Australian Football has not been refreshed with new blood over the decades, or at least insufficiently so, meaning the second, third and fourth generation supporters have progressively become disconnected from the traditions of the game. They might like the game, and follow a team their great grand-dad followed, but they may not necessarily love the game, and may not necessarily put the game above other sporting pursuits.

    Can that change with the advent of the Giants?

    Only time will tell.

  3. Kath Presdee says

    One thing I’ve always loved about watching footy at Manuka – and that hasn’t been often – was that people show up in their team gear, regardless of who is playing.

    People were wearing Swans gear, magpies gear, hawks gear… and while I doubt it was just in relation to the Foxtel Cup game earlier, it reminded me of previous games pre-Giants when it was as if there was an AFL Game so you wore your team colours, regardless of who played.

    Because of this, the crowd isn’t necessarily invested enough to cheer – unless it’s a good game and its worth cheering anyway. Given the Giants’ slow start and patchy performance I’m not surprised that the Giants dominated crowd didn’t raise the excitement level that much.

    I think one of the difficulties of the past has been that Canberra was used as a place where teams just sold their games on, with minimal community building and team building. The Giants are actually trying to build the relationship and have a 10 year commitment, which is three times more than most other sides have given. It will also help if they have games against higher ranking teams every so often, not just those not travelling well. Fingers crossed it will work.

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